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Sex, Lies, and Videotape

107 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

With smoldering sensuality and biting humor, the surprising relationship between the three title subjects isrevealed in sex, lies, and videotape, the most-talked about erotic comedy of the decade. James Spader(TV's "Boston Legal") ran away with the Best Actor prize at the Cannes Film Festival for his brilliantly understatedand seductive performance as Graham, a long-lost college friend who drifts back into town and into the lives of John,a self-involved philanderer, his angelic wife Ann, and her saucy sister Cynthia. One by one, each is drawn into the very"personal project" Graham is working on, leaving the relationships between them forever transformed. A monumental debut effort from first-time feature director Steven Soderbergh (Ocean's Twelve, Traffic, Erin Brockovich), this comic original includes riveting performances from Peter Gallagher (American Beauty), Andie MacDowell (Michael) and Laura San Giacomo (TV's "Just Shoot Me").

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Product Details

  • Actors: Andie MacDowell, Peter Gallagher, James Spader, Laura San Giacomo
  • Directors: Steven Soderbergh
  • Producers: John Hardy, Robert F. Newmyer
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), English (Dolby Digital 4.0), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Dubbed: French, Spanish
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: October 6, 1998
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (107 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0767812158
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #40,211 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Sex, Lies, and Videotape" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

68 of 69 people found the following review helpful By John Truslow on March 15, 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This movie is truly a milestone in independent film, but it also updates a familiar theme: The unique, troubled soul is accidentally brought to someone who wants to save him, despite his best efforts to remain in bondage (think of Breakfast at Tiffany's, or Harold and Maude). The story and dialogue are SO tight, the characters so rich, and the images so perfect - it's a wonderful film, though disturbing for those who are unable to be satisfied by the main character's path to redemption. If you happen to remember the description / trailer of the movie, be advised that this is not a comedy, and is not even really about sex. It's about the mental prisons we build for ourselves...
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42 of 43 people found the following review helpful By JEFF F. HAINES on January 5, 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Okay, I'm highly biased. This is my favorite movie of all time.

It's a moody movie, set in the South, where emotion and dialogue carry me (and probably you) to the end. It's so good that, for me, it has become "peanut butter fiction," as if it's always been a part of my life. When there's nothing else to watch, I'll put it in. And I'll wonder why I waited so long to watch Sex, Lies, and Videotape again.

I've spent some time trying to identify the protagonist of this film. As with many great films, our hero is not clear. We have Ann (played by Andie MacDowell), the popular southern girl who, about a year ago, married a promising lawyer, John (Peter Gallagher), recently made junior partner of his firm. John is secretly sleeping with Cynthia (Laura San Giacomo), Ann's sister. This situation would have gone on indefinitely, were it not for the arrival of Graham (James Spader). Graham is John's old buddy who is moving back to town and, with John's permission, will be staying at John and Ann's upscale home. Although logically Graham should turn out to be just like John--a deceitful man--we quickly discover that the opposite is True. "True" with a capital T.

Graham has changed since the old days. He's artsy, mysterious, immediately strange and likeable, and Truthful. John doesn't know what to make of him. The dialogue in this movie is perfectly revealing, for instance, when Graham explains how he insists on having a car. John finds a need for a car humorous: "In case you have to leave someplace in a hurry." Graham counteracts this observation by adding, "Yeah, or go someplace in a hurry." The first response indicates guilt, the second determination. Graham has come back to town for a reason.
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44 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Bryant Bell on August 9, 2000
Format: DVD
"sex,lies, and videotape" is a well-crafted little gem about adultery, sexual perversion, and the value of honesty with oneself. This film tells the story of Graham (James Spader), a minimalist anti-yuppi, who goes back to his home town and stays with his long lost college buddy John (Peter Gallagher) who has become a lawyer and Ann (Ande MacDowell) his eccentric but conservative wife. John is a bit repelled by Graham's free-spirited honesty and liberalism, but it is intruiging to Ann... until Graham reveals to her that he is more-or-less impotent, and tapes women talking about sex to get off. John is having an affair with Ann's sister Cynthia (Laura San Giamoco) a sexually aggresive bartender, who is informed of Graham's indulgent practice and takes part in a "taping", which puts all four characters in a landslide of events. Ingeneously crafted by first-time director Steven Soderberg, this film was the sleeper hit of 1989, and probably the year's best film too. The performances are superb all around, and are backed by an excellent script. Though not a highly technical film, this film has some neat camera tricks to offer.
The DVD of "sex, lies, and video" has only one extra feature worth metioning besides the theatrical trailer. That is the feature length commentary by the film's director Steven Soderberg, who is interviewed during the film by Niel LaBute, the director of "In the Company of Men". Better than most commentaries, the director discusses the preproduction of the film and his experience with the actors, rather than the technical aspects.
This DVD is a great addition to anyone's video library.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 16, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
If you purchase "sex, lies and videotape" expecting to see erotica, you'll be disappointed. Steven Soderbergh's 1989 award winning film (Grand Prize, Cannes Film Fest) is a provocative, sometimes painful examination of how communication, or lack thereof, can affect relationships. The plot revolves around John, (Peter Gallagher) a junior partner in a law firm, his obsessive, repressed wife Ann, (Andie McDowell) her "extroverted" sister Cynthia, (Laura San Giacomo) and the enigmatic Graham, (James Spader) a friend John met in college. Through voice-over, sometimes overlapping narration and crisp editing, the characters are introduced at a rapid pace. While Ann is obsessing about the world's garbage to her shrink, John is in bed with Cynthia. Cynthia told John it would give her a "perverse thrill" to do it in her sister's bed, so when Graham moves to town, John suggests Ann take him apartment hunting. Ann tells Graham she thinks sex is over-rated. Graham tells Ann that for all practical purposes, he is impotent because he can't get an erection in the presence of another person. These events take place in the first 25 minutes of the film, which runs 100 minutes. The interactions between these four people is the film's core. However, the relationship which is most pivotal to the plot--between Graham and Elizabeth, a woman he dated in college--is never explored on film. The viewer can only surmise it from the dialogue. James Spader received the Best Actor Award at Cannes for his powerful, sensitive yet understated portrayal of Graham. Especially poignant in the last 30 minutes of the film, Spader's performance is also praiseworthy because we never doubt Graham's sincerity. The thought that he could be something other than he appears never enters our minds.Read more ›
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